Simpson University Receives $33,000 Grant for Science Equipment
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - Simpson University’s Science Department has received a $33,000 grant from the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation for the purchase an ion chromatograph.
An ion chromatograph measures charged chemical species, or ions, in water. The equipment will be used in ongoing research into reducing the acidity of Shasta County’s toxic Iron Mountain Mine that’s being conducted by Simpson University biology professor Brian Hooker, Simpson biology students, and other biology faculty.
The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation is a private family foundation that provides financial support to qualified non-profit organizations involved in healthcare, education and conservation in Northern California and Hawaii.
“This was a good fit for the Long Foundation as we are looking at strategies to ‘clean up’ the acid waste at Iron Mountain Mine and improve conservation and environmental quality for our region,” Dr. Hooker said.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency listed Iron Mountain Mine—located about nine miles northwest of Redding—as a “Superfund” site in 1983 due to the presence of some of the country’s most toxic mine waters.
Dr. Hooker and his team began the Iron Mountain Mine Research and Environmental Education Project in spring 2013 with collection and analysis of soil samples taken from several locations around the mine. The project is now in its second phase.
“We would like to collect microbial samples from the mine and test for conditions where the microbes could actually reduce the acid concentration,” Dr. Hooker said. “We would use the ion chromatograph to measure the sulfate levels to see if we can drive them down and mitigate the acid.”
Sulfate, a component of sulfuric acid, is one of the major ions contributing to the mine-drainage acidity.
In spring 2014, Simpson biology graduate Siby Sabu ’13 presented research about the project at the National Council on Undergraduate Research’s annual meeting. His research was chosen from among 4,000 submissions and “demonstrates a unique contribution to your field of study,” the council review committee noted.
Others involved in the Iron Mountain Mine Research and Environmental Education Project include Dr. Trent Smith, associate professor of biology, and biology graduate Taylor Polk.
Photo by Matt Murnan / Simpson University President Robin Dummer, left, and Dr. Brian Hooker, associate professor of biology, stand next to a new ion chromatograph installed in the university’s Science and Nursing Center. The equipment purchase was made possible by a grant from the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation.
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: SU Public Relations